ORLANDO, Fla. -- PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem reiterated Monday that he doesn't have any details about when Tiger Woods, his franchise player, will return to tournament play, and he made it clear that he isn't crazy about discussing the issue anymore, either.
In a national teleconference called to trumpet a contract expension with the sponsor of the Torrey Pines event outside San Diego, Farmers Insurance, the first question had everything to do with Woods and nothing to do with the sponsorship deal.
"Well, we have the general information that Tiger is preparing to play, and there's been a lot of speculation about when he might come back out," Finchem said. "Tiger has indicated to us that he will give us reasonable notice, because we know we have got some preparation to do.
"I don't have the specific date when he’s going to come back, and I could only assume that all of the speculation about late March and early April, if he's going to start back then, we will know soon. Beyond that, I can't help you."
Call me reckless, but it hardly seems improper for the commissioner of the tour to ask his No. 1 player what his future plans are, just for the sake of logistics, fan expediency, or the fact that TV pays a gazillions dollars to show his product and might want some lead time to prepare. Finchem is seemingly getting his updates from reading the newspapers, too? Money needlessly expended for security comes out oif the charitable bottom line.
Evidently, Finchem has not bothered to inquire, again letting Woods leave tournaments in the dark. Nope, the commissioner has instead put the onus on tournament officials to get ready for Woods return, though nobody in the Woods camp has publicly stated when or where that will happen. They are scrambling around at Defcon 5 levels, possibly for naught.
A source involved in Bay Hill's security preparations described the uncertainty on Monday thusly, "a freaking mess is right."
"We have a plan for -- it varies," Finchem said. "Every site in golf is different, the capacity to handle media. I think media is the biggest mover. Most of our tournaments sell out from a ticket standpoint, anyway. I think the media accommodation is the big factor, and you know, how that happens depends week-to-week on which tournaments we are talking about. We saw a huge influx of media here for Tiger's statement three for four weeks ago.
"We had to create an off-site accommodation for the number of media. And, you know, there's a possibility that in certain places we would have to do that, because we can only accommodate so much media. But it will be different. We will know in advance. We will get the word out. As far as a statement goes, we announced it two days in advance, and we had plenty of media here. So it won't be a problem in terms of letting everybody know what accommodations will be made, but we'll be prepared."
Undaunted, an Orlando television outlet continued to press Finchem for information on when Woods would announce his intentions. Finchem seemed to grow testy, and perhaps with good reason. The perception is that the world No. 1 does whatever he wants and tells Finchem, instead of the reverse.
"I'm not going to get into that," he said tersely. "What I've indicated is that we are going to have advance notice, and we are going to be in my view comfortable with the notice we have. We already have done contingency planning at a number of weeks of the tour. So we will be prepared, and as soon as he tells us, you'll know."